SCOTUS on Social Media censorship

LightPattern

Senior member
Feb 18, 2013
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Supreme Court blocks Texas social media law from taking effect

On a 5-4 decision SCOTUS saves large social media companies from handing over censorship responsibility to the US Government.

"With the court's three most conservative justices filing a written dissent that would have allowed the Texas law to start. In a surprise move, liberal Justice Elena Kagan joined in the dissent."

Don't the conservatives realize what they're asking for will only backfire against them!? If this or the similar law out of Florida pass, the federal government would have to create a "Social Media" censorship board? Corporations would no longer be the gate-keepers of speech once a platform reaches a certain size: 50+ million monthly active users in this case. At first the board may do what the conservatives dream and somehow increase their online free speech rights, but then it would start censoring any language against the US gov and go from there.

SCOTUS scraped by in saving the 1st Amendment this time, but the case will make it's way back to them, and what happens then?
 
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fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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Supreme Court blocks Texas social media law from taking effect

On a 5-4 decision SCOTUS saves large social media companies from handing over censorship responsibility to the US Government.

"With the court's three most conservative justices filing a written dissent that would have allowed the Texas law to start. In a surprise move, liberal Justice Elena Kagan joined in the dissent."

Don't the conservatives realize what they're asking for will only backfire against them!? If this or the similar law out of Florida pass, the federal government would have to create a "Social Media" censorship board? Corporations would no longer be the gate-keepers of speech once a platform reaches a certain size: 50+ million monthly active users in this case. At first the board may do what the conservatives dream and somehow increase their online free speech rights, but then it would start censoring any language against the US gov and go from there.

SCOTUS scraped by in saving the 1st Amendment this time, but the case will make it's way back to them, and what happens then?
The vote was more likely 6-3, as Kagan’s dissent was probably not in favor of this ludicrous law.

That being said, interesting how the free speech absolutists Alito and Thomas think any restriction on campaign finance is an unconstitutional abridgment of speech but seem to be fine with the government forcing social media companies to publish speech.
 

brycejones

Lifer
Oct 18, 2005
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The vote was more likely 6-3, as Kagan’s dissent was probably not in favor of this ludicrous law.

That being said, interesting how the free speech absolutists Alito and Thomas think any restriction on campaign finance is an unconstitutional abridgment of speech but seem to be fine with the government forcing social media companies to publish speech.
Alito goes a bit further into bat shit land by arguing that it should go into effect because Texas shouldn’t have to seek “preclearence” before it’s laws go into effect.

It’s the same legal bull shit they used to avoid issuing a stay in the Texas abortion law case.

If there are legitimate issues of constitutional law to be considered the priority should be to maintain the status quo until those issues are adjudicated. Instead a substantial number of the court are now ok with allowing whatever impacts a law may have to occur while the legal proceedings continue. Somehow I don’t think this same deference will be shown to Democratic legislation or actions from the Executive branch.
 

NWRMidnight

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Jun 18, 2001
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My understanding is this is just a temporary order.. it's still yet to be decided.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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My understanding is this is just a temporary order.. it's still yet to be decided.
It’s just vacating the 5th circuit’s decision to let the law go into effect but it’s very likely indicative of how they will rule.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
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That being said, interesting how the free speech absolutists Alito and Thomas think any restriction on campaign finance is an unconstitutional abridgment of speech but seem to be fine with the government forcing social media companies to publish speech.
It is not hard to determine which justices have Fox News or worse blaring from every TV in the house 24/7.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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Robert's isn't a conservative. That said, this isn't the last well see of this in SCOTUS.
Property rights, individual freedom, and limited government is what conservatism is all about, right?

With that in mind maybe you can explain to us what is conservative about the government forcing private companies to publish speech they don’t agree with.
 

KB

Diamond Member
Nov 8, 1999
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The vote was more likely 6-3, as Kagan’s dissent was probably not in favor of this ludicrous law.

That being said, interesting how the free speech absolutists Alito and Thomas think any restriction on campaign finance is an unconstitutional abridgment of speech but seem to be fine with the government forcing social media companies to publish speech.
This is what boggles my mind too. SCOTUS ruled that money is speech and corporations are individuals who have the free speech rights to spend however they want, but almost half of SCOTUS ruled that corporations don't have free speech if it blocks conservative voices. This is utter hypocrisy. How do you spend years becoming a judge with such hypocritical rulings? Any idiot could be a better judge than these people.
 
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K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
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This is what boggles my mind too. SCOTUS ruled that money is speech and corporations are individuals who have the free speech rights to spend however they want, but almost half of SCOTUS ruled that corporations don't have free speech if it blocks conservative voices. This is utter hypocrisy. How do you spend years becoming a judge with such hypocritical rulings? Any idiot could be a better judge than these people.
You think conservatives on the court are at all worried about consistency when there is partisan gain to be had?
 

FlawleZ

Member
Oct 13, 2016
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Property rights, individual freedom, and limited government is what conservatism is all about, right?

With that in mind maybe you can explain to us what is conservative about the government forcing private companies to publish speech they don’t agree with.
The problem is where the 1st amendment applies section 230 should not and vice versa. You can't be a private company and also a public service at the same time. Social Media companies are double dipping where it favors them in either scenario.
 
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fskimospy

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The problem is where the 1st amendment applies section 230 should not and vice versa. You can't be a private company and also a public service at the same time. Social Media companies are double dipping where it favors them in either scenario.
This is factually incorrect, both the first amendment AND section 230 simultaneously apply and this violates both.

1) Twitter, just like a newspaper or forums.anandtech.com publishes materials written by other people. Twitter, Anandtech, and the New York Times retain a first amendment right to choose what to publish and what not to publish. The government can almost never compel speech, which is what Texas was trying to do here.

2) In addition to Twitter's first amendment right to not publish anything it chooses not to, section 230 protects Twitter from liability for things you write on the site. This is for the common sense reason that without section 230 social media and web forums would not exist as they would need to choose between being essentially 4chan, filled with pedos and nazis, or be sued out of existence.

3) Private companies provide public services all the time! A bar is a private company that provides a public service. If you don't believe me that private companies that provide services to the public can ban users for what they say try walking into a bar and start screaming Nazi slogans or whatever.
 

FlawleZ

Member
Oct 13, 2016
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This is factually incorrect, both the first amendment AND section 230 simultaneously apply and this violates both.

1) Twitter, just like a newspaper or forums.anandtech.com publishes materials written by other people. Twitter, Anandtech, and the New York Times retain a first amendment right to choose what to publish and what not to publish. The government can almost never compel speech, which is what Texas was trying to do here.

2) In addition to Twitter's first amendment right to not publish anything it chooses not to, section 230 protects Twitter from liability for things you write on the site. This is for the common sense reason that without section 230 social media and web forums would not exist as they would need to choose between being essentially 4chan, filled with pedos and nazis, or be sued out of existence.

3) Private companies provide public services all the time! A bar is a private company that provides a public service. If you don't believe me that private companies that provide services to the public can ban users for what they say try walking into a bar and start screaming Nazi slogans or whatever.
Yes?

My point is if they are protected from being held liable for the actions of the individual, they should also not be allowed to censor free speech.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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Yes?

My point is if they are protected from being held liable for the actions of the individual, they should also not be allowed to censor free speech.
So you’re saying congress can pass a law to remove their first amendment rights?
 

[DHT]Osiris

Lifer
Dec 15, 2015
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Yes?

My point is if they are protected from being held liable for the actions of the individual, they should also not be allowed to censor free speech.
It's been long established that nobody's required to uphold someone else's free speech. Unless we're gonna go back to debating whether companies can be compelled to make gay cakes again.
 
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fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
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It's been long established that nobody's required to uphold someone else's free speech. Unless we're gonna go back to debating whether companies can be compelled to make gay cakes again.
I’m just shocked that he seems to be arguing that Congress can cancel someone’s first amendment rights through legislation.
 

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